Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Ideas, that are too old (too much things changed) or won't be implemented cause of some reasons or if there are obvious better suggestions.
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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by kovarex »

lol ..... NO

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by ickputzdirwech »

steinio wrote:
Thu May 02, 2019 2:57 pm
OMG i can't believe this topic even exists.

What's next?

Vegans complaining about biter kills?
Environmentalists complaining about pollution?
Cyclists complaining about the car.
Workers complaining about robots.
That is absolutely off topic. I would count my self to three of the four groups you named and I am happily playing the game without complaint and enjoy it as it is, even though I am trying as hard as possible that the real life becomes less similar to factorio. That people might feel offended by the language the game adresses them in, is a completely different situation.

I think it should be out of question that there should not be any racist terms used in the game. In my experience good/bad is what most people associate with white/black. In my opinion the terms should therefore avoided as much as possible when they used as comparatives. Which is the case in whitelist/blacklist. There are multiple alternatives in this thread and linked articles I would be happy with.
kovarex wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:55 pm
lol ..... NO
That is not really an appropriate answer. How about:

"Since we froze the locale and commissioned it to a professional translation agency for the 1.0 release we won't adress this right away. We will however ask them to take this suggestion into consideration."
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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by kovarex »

Ok, the proper answer would be:
No, I don't think we should comply with terrosist demands. Because this is how I view the progressivist activities lately.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Koub »

ickputzdirwech wrote:
Tue Jun 09, 2020 8:45 pm
In my experience good/bad is what most people associate with white/black.
Funny : in my experience, white/black are just colors. Only people who have issues with people's skin color and the way to depict them see them as racist terms.
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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by moertschi »

In my experience, it didn't look much different.

I was born in the late 70s, in central europe, academic family, male, white. I made a pretty good win in the birth lottery.
I work as a programmer and earn more money than I can spend on (reasonable) things.

For a long time I didn't think about inequality, sexism, gender pay gap, racism, pre-stressed language, homophobia and much more.
Why? Because I have no problems with it.
Are there problems? Definitely yes.

Are the words black and white biased? Yes, they are.

Will it bother us while playing, if it is blocklist and allowlist instead? Not me.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Kyralessa »

moertschi wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:46 am
Will it bother us while playing, if it is blocklist and allowlist instead? Not me.
While changing the terms for virtue-signaling purposes would strike me as quite silly, "blocklist" and "allowlist" might be more clear to people than "blacklist" and "whitelist."

I'm not sure how many players there actually are for whom the terms "blacklist" and "whitelist" are obscure, though.

(Wait till some of the people in this discussion learn about master and slave servers, and male and female connectors... :lol:)

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by darkfrei »

How about FFFFFF-list and 000000-list?

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Impatient »

IMO, if you want to discuss this, you should base the discussion on the historical origin of the word blacklist.

I don't know it for sure, but I guess the origin is a religious one. "To be in the light" and "to be in the dark" could be phrases in the bible.

If it has a racist origin though, I would agree to discuss change.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Impatient »

I don't know if this is helpfull forthis discussion:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacklist ... f_the_term

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Gweneph »

So I was going to post this suggestion, but I found this topic. So, I read it and spent a couple days thinking.

I believe (after discussing this issue at length with five people with varying technical backgrounds) the confusion around the terms comes from the connotation of white -> good, black -> bad. Even the programmers I talked to said that the connotations they associate with whitelist and blacklist typically revolve around security: so white->allow, black->block. In the context of applying a filter on which items to deconstruct, block is closer to deconstruct than allow so their expectations did not match how it is implemented. One person did say that the coding jargon connotation of whitelist is "the following are part of the given task." So, when forced to chose which list meant what, his prediction matched the implementation. Another said that it was ambiguous. So, one person got it "right", one person refused to answer, and three people got it "wrong."

Regarding the racial connotations, I really don't have any international perspective, but I do know in the USA there is a racial undertone to whitelist/blacklist that eludes to segregation and Jim Crow laws in at least the circles I move in (and apparently those that people at github, Google, RedHat, Apple, etc move in too). When asking those people about their expectations, four of the five brought up that they're moving away from those terms or otherwise stated they were problematic. I understand that the origins of the words, and the dictionary definitions, (probably) don't have anything to do with race. That doesn't mean that there aren't racial connotations in the way some cultures/people interpret them. Those connotations/interpretations are problematic regardless of whether they are "correct" or not. While it might sound like a great plan to just educate everyone on the "correct" definition, that's pretty difficult to do (as was discovered with the word inflammable)

To me, it seems like changing the terminology would be the kind and empathetic thing to do.

It would also be an opportunity to make the language more clear. I think there's several different contexts in which the terms are used and it might be more clear if they had different terminology. Here's a few suggestions:
Multiplayer server "whitelist": Accept List, Access List, Allow List, Allow Only, Authorized List, Friend List, Safe List
(Stack) Filter Inserter "whitelist": Accept, Act, Action List, Allow, Grab, Insert
(Stack) Filter Inserter "blacklist": Exclude, Ignore, Reject
Deconstruction Planner "whitelist": Act, Action List, Deconstruct, Remove
Deconstruction Planner "blacklist": Exclude, Ignore

I should note to be fully forthcoming that as a software engineer, when I first started playing, I thought the terms were kind of a cute inside joke (I've obviously changed my mind)

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by ssilk »

I think allow/reject hits best for the filters. Include/exclude for the deconstruction planner.

Besides that I think that it won’t help with discrimination, because as we can find here other words for black and white, others find other words to discriminate.

It’s in the heads, not on paper.
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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Theikkru »

Gweneph wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:38 am
[...]
To me, it seems like changing the terminology would be the kind and empathetic thing to do.
[...]
Unfortunately, it's also a very problematic thing to do. Changing terminology just because some people decided to be offended by it is a bad idea in general because offense is ultimately taken by the recipient, not given by the speaker/writer. In the US, especially, which is where this is considered a big issue, there's already a huge problem with "minorities" (or purported champions thereof) trying to strong-arm others by weaponizing the concept of personal offense. While I may agree in principle that trying not to offend anyone may be the kind or empathetic thing to do, in today's society, it will only be taken advantage of. C'est la vie. Watch carefully those who loudly take offense where none was given.

If terminology causes CONFUSION due to definitions that are overloaded or ambiguous in context, (see technical definitions people have raised previously,) make that argument, and let it stand alone. Do not muddy the waters with "political correctness".

Imagine what would have happened if the original post hadn't included the 2nd and 3rd sentences; the discussion could have centered around the lingual fit of various synonyms for "blacklist" and "whitelist" in the context of planner filters. Instead, by the time kovarex joined the thread, there was a raging debate about possible racism. How counterproductive.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Gweneph »

Theikkru wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:02 am
Unfortunately, it's also a very problematic thing to do. [...] it will only be taken advantage of. [...]
We're coming from very different places, so I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm being combative. I'm just trying to understand your perspective. I'd like to know how it would/does get taken advantage of. What is the downside that you're alluding to? I admit changing vocabulary is not free in this situation, so that's an obvious downside, but it sounds much more serious than that in your post.

With regards to the given/taken offence terminology, I'm also not quite sure what you're saying. I think it might help to break the chain of events up:
  1. Author comes up with a concept.
  2. Author approximates that concept with words. (usually a subconscious process with conscious review)
  3. Words are conveyed to a reader.
  4. Reader forms at least one concept from the words. (usually a subconscious process with conscious review)
  5. Reader emotionally processes all formed concepts. (subconscious process)
  6. Reader analyses concepts. (optional, usually conscious process)
I think you're saying that an offence is taken by the reader when they've analysed the concepts in step 6 and found them to be offensive (that makes sense to me). But I think you're saying that an offence is not given in steps 1 or 2 regardless of what happens in steps 4-6? (this part doesn't make sense to me)

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Theikkru »

Gweneph wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:40 pm
We're coming from very different places, so I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm being combative. I'm just trying to understand your perspective. I'd like to know how it would/does get taken advantage of. What is the downside that you're alluding to?
[...]
I think you're saying that an offence is taken by the reader when they've analysed the concepts in step 6 and found them to be offensive (that makes sense to me). But I think you're saying that an offence is not given in steps 1 or 2 regardless of what happens in steps 4-6? (this part doesn't make sense to me)
The main point is that the interpretation by the reader (your latter 3 stages) occurs completely independently of and subsequent to the writer/speaker, (hence my use of "ultimately",) and, as ssilk pointed out, is "in the heads". In other words, the original intent of the speaker or writer is irrelevant at that point; only the words themselves survive the transition.
A normal, well adjusted and reasonable person recognizes this, and so will generally attempt to reconcile any possibly implied offense as a personal misinterpretation, unless the language used leaves little room for doubt, because he/she understands that miscommunication is common, and that a certain level of (at least attempt at) civility should be assumed by default. This is also the practical approach from a linguistic standpoint, so as not to cripple the lexicon by progressively blacklisting more and more of it over time. (See my first post in this thread.)
The less scrupulous, however, will either fail to extend this common courtesy, or, worse, go out of their way to find the least charitable interpretation of something, and use an accusation of slight against their person (or some other supposedly vulnerable group) as a method of sullying the speaker/writer's image, usually either as an ad-hominem attack on what was said/written, or as leverage in a bid to demand some sort of compensation. Capitulation to this kind of behavior in an effort to save face only encourages more of the same.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Impatient »

ssilk wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:36 am
Besides that I think that it won’t help with discrimination, because as we can find here other words for black and white, others find other words to discriminate.
I am ambivalent about that statement. But I also have a strong opinion about it. YES, people who want to discriminate, will invent new ways to discriminate. BUT language reinforces the way we think and ultimately the way we feel.
ssilk wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:36 am
It’s in the heads, not on paper.
It is both. First, it is in the heads. Second, what is on paper reflects what is in the heads. Third, what is on paper influences what is going into the heads. A mind, which is indifferent about color, good and bad, will learn that white means positive and black means negative.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by eradicator »

Impatient wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:25 pm
ssilk wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:36 am
Besides that I think that it won’t help with discrimination, because as we can find here other words for black and white, others find other words to discriminate.
I am ambivalent about that statement. But I also have a strong opinion about it. YES, people who want to discriminate, will invent new ways to discriminate. BUT language reinforces the way we think and ultimately the way we feel.
Nobody needs to invent anything. As soon as $they manage to sufficiently reduce the public usage of $currently_offensive_word the negative connotation attach itself to another word. Just think about all the other words that were used previous to "black", and all the things renamed. Yet the underlying problem persists. The words are just symptoms of the problem. That's just how language works.
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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Theikkru »

Impatient wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:25 pm
[...]A mind, which is indifferent about color, good and bad, will learn that white means positive and black means negative.
The opposite also occurs. (See previous reference to Asian culture.) This is why said mind must also learn the importance of and be responsible for appropriate context in applying such associations; burdening the language with accountability for all possible associations and interpretations is absurdly impractical.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Gweneph »

Theikkru wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:47 pm
[...] miscommunication is common, and that a certain level of (at least attempt at) civility should be assumed by default. [...]
I totally agree with this. I 100% believe the Factorio team did not intend any racist connotations, and would give them benefit of doubt even if I wasn't already sure.

I also think that authors/speakers should strive to be as clear as possible in step 2 to prevent miscommunication, especially around sensitive topics. I think this is important not just to reduce miscommunication and perceived offensiveness, but also reduce the stress caused in step 5 by possible unintended connotations as these stressors can happen regardless of intent in 1 or assumptions of intent in 6.
Theikkru wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:47 pm
[...] cripple the lexicon by progressively blacklisting more and more of it over time. [...]
Here we differ on how we see changes to the lexicon. I see the replacement of words that have unintended connotations as a refinement of the language: helping future generations avoid miscommunications. I think many of the suggested replacements are actually more clear, especially to someone unfamiliar with the terms. The English language is growing faster than ever so I don't see the intentional removal of some words as crippling, especially when those words are prone to misinterpretation.
Theikkru wrote:
Fri May 03, 2019 2:43 pm
[...]outdated and inappropriate connotations should be eroded through counterexample and gradual disassociation, rather than enshrined in taboo.[...]
My instinct is telling me this doesn't ever happen, but I'm certainly no historical linguist. Do you know of any words this has happened with or articles I could find out more about this strategy?

As to personal attacks... just eww.... I really appreciate you taking the time to explain your thoughts.

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Re: Suggestion to change Whitelist/Blacklist terms

Post by Theikkru »

Gweneph wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:25 am
[...]I also think that authors/speakers should strive to be as clear as possible in step 2 to prevent miscommunication, especially around sensitive topics. I think this is important not just to reduce miscommunication and perceived offensiveness, but also reduce the stress caused in step 5 by possible unintended connotations as these stressors can happen regardless of intent in 1 or assumptions of intent in 6.
That is where I must disagree. While an effort must certainly be made to avoid confusion in communication, the burden on the speaker or writer should not extend so far as the mere possibility of perceived offensiveness, for reasons stated previously. If there is an overwhelming likelihood that something would be considered offensive then perhaps an exception could be made, but any obligation beyond that will, as I covered earlier, be taken advantage of.
Gweneph wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:25 am
Here we differ on how we see changes to the lexicon. I see the replacement of words that have unintended connotations as a refinement of the language: helping future generations avoid miscommunications. I think many of the suggested replacements are actually more clear, especially to someone unfamiliar with the terms. The English language is growing faster than ever so I don't see the intentional removal of some words as crippling, especially when those words are prone to misinterpretation.
I see two problems here. First, is the idea that the specific terms in question, "whitelist" and "blacklist", actually have any sort of deep-rooted racial connotation. So far I have yet to hear anything beyond the inclusion of the words "white" and "black", which themselves have never been so challenged until VERY RECENTLY by those self-same groups that have a history of weaponizing offense, as I warned earlier. Curiously, this also started happening right around the time they effectively finished blacklisting two variations of what we now know as the "n" word. Of those variations, one was never intended as a slur in the first place. Now why does that sound so familiar:
eradicator wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:05 pm
Nobody needs to invent anything. As soon as $they manage to sufficiently reduce the public usage of $currently_offensive_word the negative connotation attach itself to another word. Just think about all the other words that were used previous to "black", and all the things renamed. Yet the underlying problem persists. The words are just symptoms of the problem. That's just how language works.
The second problem I see is one I highlighted earlier. If the effort were in fact one of improving clarity, merely suggesting more appropriate candidates would have sufficed. Bringing in a "hot button" issue in an attempt to somehow strengthen the argument has instead thrown the discussion into chaos, due to the inherent weaknesses of the "perceived offense" argument. An argument that cannot stand independent of the arguer (be it their experiences or values) is unconvincing.
Gweneph wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 2:25 am
My instinct is telling me this doesn't ever happen, but I'm certainly no historical linguist. Do you know of any words this has happened with or articles I could find out more about this strategy?
Which are you referring to, the erosion or the enshrinement? Neither is really a strategy, as I see it, so much as a simple consequence of language changing (or not) over time based on usage. Why would your instincts tell you that it, whichever it is, wouldn't occur?


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